This has been an extraordinary week in politics and, as usual, the media has had a key role to play, with one editor and one owner at the forefront. The political support of Messrs Dacre and Murdoch often appeared to be more important than the support of MPs or party members (not to mention the electorate).
The Press Gazette reported how a leaked email from Sarah Vine to Michael Gove shows the influence that Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre have on UK politics, as she mentions that they ‘instinctively dislike Boris’ but trust Gove’s ability.
Politico observed that Rupert Murdoch’s influence in post-Brexit Britain can be seen in the fact that Boris Johnson has dropped out of the race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. Murdoch is reportedly much closer to Michael Gove than he is to Johnson.
Roy Greenslade in the Guardian commented that the newspapers have referenced Shakespeare repeatedly when reporting on the political events of the week in the Conservative Party. In another article Greenslade examines Dacre’s coming out in support of Theresa May, with the front page headline of ‘A party in flames and why it must be Theresa May.’
The Brexit referendum result continues to reverberate around the world and The Independent has a piece on how it has been covered by newspapers overseas.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the Advertising Standards Authority is to take no action over 374 complaints about ads run in the lead up to the EU referendum. They have said that political advertising does not fall within their remit.
The Committee of Advertising Practice – which draws up advertising codes – has commented on the potential impact of Brexit on advertising regulation. It tells advertisers to continue to comply with its rules unless it announces otherwise.
In other news according to the UK Supreme Court registry the appeal in Vidal-Hall v Google has been “withdrawn following agreement between the parties”. This means that the Court of Appeal decision striking down section 13(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998 and permitting damages for distress will stand.
The Daily Telegraph reports that cricketer Chris Cairns is seeking damages from the MCC after the club apologised to him for wrongly writing on their YouTube channel that he was involved in match fixing.
Aisha Ali-Khan, a former teacher and aspiring lawyer who won libel damages from George Galloway last week after he posted a series of claims in a blogpost in 2012, has pleaded with the legal profession to change its approach to litigants in person.
Facebook has won a landmark ruling in Belgium that allows it to continue to track the web activity of non-users of its social network. The Brussels Appeals Court has dismissed the case, on the grounds that the Belgium regulator has no jurisdiction over Facebook Inc, which has its European headquarters in Ireland.
The Social Media Law Bulletin reports on the recent changes affecting advertising on popular social media platforms.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
Data Protection Report questions the impact that the referendum result will have on the application of the GDPR. Hawktalk looks at the same issue, and concludes that the UK is very likely to implement the GDPR or something of a very similar standard with few exceptions. PeepBeep also looked at the implications of Brexit, this time looking at the eDIDAS regulation.
The US government has said that the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s action querying the validity of the main channels being used for EU-US data transfers is “of the utmost importance to the United States and to the broader public”.
Datonomy looks at issues of personal data in automative technology.
Optanon examines whether GDPR compliance means re-visiting cookie consent laws.
FieldFisher Privacy, Security Information Law blog examines the question ‘Can a dynamic IP address constitute personal data?’
Surveillance and Information Gathering
The German cabinet has approved more stringent oversight of the country’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). However, the actual spying powers of the BND are largely unaffected by the new rules.
The fight to get better protection for confidential journalistic sources placed in the Investigatory Powers Bill, or Snoopers Charter, has moved to the House of Lords, after it was passed in the House of Commons. The Press Gazette reported that ‘publishers, editors and the NUJ’ are united in this push for further safeguards.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any statements in open court last week.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Roy Greenslade reports on a British Medical Journal blog by Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, that argues that trying to maintain an objective stance in journalism can mislead audiences. David Graham also writes about this on Open Democracy, asking ‘was truth the casualty of the BBC’s impartiality rules?’ in their reporting on the EU referendum.
The Sun and the Daily Mail have corrected articles which claimed an organisation spent £100,000 of public money on days out for refugees following IPSO complaints.
The founder of a pro-Remain fact-checking website has claimed that a series of “significantly misleading” articles misled the British public when they voted to leave the EU last week.
Last week in the Courts
The libel trial in the case of Begg v BBC was heard on Monday 27 June 2016 to Friday 1 July 2016 by Haddon-Cave J. There were press reports about the trial in the Independent and the Press Gazette. Shakeel Begg, a London imam, is suing the BBC for libel over a broadcast on the Sunday politics show in 2013 featuring presenter Andrew Neil, which he says meant he was a member of a “rogue’s gallery of extremists”. The BBC denied libel and pleaded justification. Judgment was reserved.
On 29 June 2016, Soole J gave judgment in the case of Easeman v Ford  EWHC 1576 (QB) in which he made a summary assessment of libel damages of £10,000 following a judgment in default. He also made a declaration of falsity. The claim concerned a WordPress blog established by the defendant accusing the claimant of extreme racist right wing views.
On 30 June and 1 July 2016 there was an application in the case of David v Hosany. The claim is for damages for libel and slander in relation to eight statements accusing the claimant of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment.
Bailii has recently made available a judgment of 22 June 2016 in the case of Richardson v Google UK Ltd  EWHC 1534 (QB)) in which Sir David Eady made an extended civil restraint order against the claimant.
5 September 2016, “Conference5RB“, at at IET Savoy Place, Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL, and will deal with current issues in defamation, privacy, Data Protection, harassment, reporting restrictions and contempt issues.
Please let us know if there are any events you would like to be included on this list by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Schoch v Palmer  QSC 147 the Court dismissed three defamation of five defamation claims brought by a former employee against Clive Palmer. There was a news report of the case on ABC.
In the case of Goldhar v Haaretz (2016 ONCA 515), the Court of Appeal of Ontario cleared the way for a Canadian billionaire who owns an Israeli football team to sue a leading Israeli newspaper for libel. The split decision in favour of Mitchell Goldhar, of Toronto, relates to a story published by Haaretz in November 2011 in which the paper criticized his management practices as owner of the Tel Aviv-based Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club, which plays in the Israeli premier league.
John Malkovich has taken French daily Le Monde and two of its journalists to court for defamation over a report alleging the US actor had a secret Swiss bank account.
Professor Kevin Aquilina, Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta, has commented on how a criminal sanction on defamatory libel cases is liable to have a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression.
A 52 year old security manager, who claimed he was falsely accused of stealing a mop, has lost a €75,000 damages claim for defamation in the Circuit Civil Court.
A 17 year old teenager, who claimed she was defamed when she was publicly described as a pickpocket on a Luas tram, was awarded damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
A Bank of Ireland employee whose girlfriend was among three people held hostage during a €7.6m Tiger kidnapping has sued over alleged “gross” defamation in an article in the Sunday World.
Kanye West’s music video for “Famous” has sparked outrage for portraying naked celebrities in bed, in the form of life-like wax figures, and IPKat has looked at whether those portrayed can use publicity rights. We also had a post about this issue by Alexia Bedat.
Info/Law looks at the free speech challenges to credit card laws.
A defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine over the magazine’s debunked article about a University of Virginia gang rape was tossed out by a judge Tuesday. U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel in Manhattan said the lawsuit brought by three former fraternity members cited comments that were offered as speculation and hypothesis rather than fact.
A fired AllState employee has been awarded $27 million in a defamation lawsuit.
Research and Resources
- A ‘Serious’ Response to Trivial Defamation Claims: An Examination of S 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 (UK) from an Australian Perspective (2015) 20 Media and Arts Law Review, Phoebe Joan Galbally
- UN Privacy Rapporteur Sets High Goals (2016) 140 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 10-12, Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law
- The Future of Transatlantic Data Flows: Privacy Shield or Bust? Journal of Internet Law Vol. 19 No. 11 pp. 1, 9-18 (May 2016), W. Gregory Voss, Toulouse Business School
- Proposal for an International Taxonomy on the Various Forms of the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’: A Study on the Convergence of Norms 14 Colorado Technology Law Journal 281 (2016) / (Issue 14.2) (pp. 281-344), W. Gregory Voss and Céline Castets-Renard, Toulouse Business School and University Toulouse Capitole
Next Week in the Courts
On 7 July 2016 there will be an application in the case of David v Gabriec.
On 8 July 2016, there will be an application in the case of Smith v Persons Unknown.
The following reserved judgments in media law cases are outstanding:
CG v Facebook Ireland Limited, heard 4 and 5 April 2016 (Morgan LCJ, Gillen and Weatherup LJJ)(Northern Ireland Court of Appeal)
Simpson v Mirror Group Newspapers, heard, 24 May 2016 (Laws, King and Lindblom LJJ).
Ghuman v Ghuman, heard 13-17, 20-21 June 2016 (Dingemans J).
Economou v De Freitas, heard 13-17, 20, 22 June 2016 (Warby J).
Begg v BBC, heard 27 June to 1 July 2016 (Haddon-Cave J)